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(5th LD) At least 120 dead, 100 injured in Halloween stampede in Seoul

All News 04:07 October 30, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details throughout)
By Park Boram

SEOUL, Oct. 30 (Yonhap) -- At least 120 people have been killed with 100 others injured in a deadly stampede in Seoul's Itaewon district, as huge crowds of partygoers stampeded at late-night Halloween celebrations, fire authorities said Sunday.

The accident took place Saturday night in a narrow downhill alley near Hamilton Hotel in the famous nightlife district after a throng of partygoers flooded into it, according to witnesses.

Tens of thousands of people were visiting the area for Halloween parties.

A total of 120 people had been confirmed dead as of early Sunday morning with 100 others injured, fire authorities said, adding the death toll could rise further.

Of those killed, 74 were pronounced dead at hospitals, while the remaining 46 were moved to a nearby indoor gym for identity verification, authorities said.

Choi Seong-beom, head of the fire department in Yongsan, which includes Itaewon, told reporters "many casualties were incurred as a crowd of people fell over during Halloween parties."

Victims in their 20s accounted for the age group most affected by the accident, the authorities also said.

Fire authorities initially received dozens of reports from people in the Itaewon area about patients with breathing difficulties. Rescuers sent to the scene had administered CPR on dozens of victims on a nearby road.

"As people in the front fell over, those in the back were crushed," a witness in his 20s told Yonhap News Agency.

Rumors at the scene were that a crowd of people had flocked to a place to see a celebrity or candies laced with drugs had been distributed at clubs, but the exact cause of the accident is yet to be known.

Halloween stampede in Seoul's Itaewon
Halloween stampede in Seoul's Itaewon

A police line surrounds a street in Seoul's Itaewon district on Oct. 30, 2022, where a stampede during Halloween parties killed 120 partygoers and injured 100 others the previous day. (Yonhap)

Victims lie on a street in Seoul's Itaewon where a stampede during Halloween parties killed 120 people and injured 120 others on Oct. 29, 2022. (Yonhap)

Victims lie on a street in Seoul's Itaewon where a stampede during Halloween parties killed 120 people and injured 120 others on Oct. 29, 2022. (Yonhap)

Shortly after the stampede, President Yoon Suk-yeol presided over two successive emergency meetings, ordering officials to swiftly administer first aid and treat the injured, the presidential office said.

Yoon also ordered officials to deploy emergency medical officials to Itaewon and secure emergency beds.

After presiding over an emergency meeting on the stampede, Yoon instructed officials to thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident.

Separately, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo instructed officials to make utmost efforts to minimize damages.

Meanwhile, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, who is on a visit to Europe, decided to return home in the wake of the accident, city officials said.

A total of 848 personnel, including 346 firefighters, were mobilized for the area.

Police plan to launch an investigation soon into whether bars and clubs in the area were in compliance with safety regulations.

This photo from a reader on Oct. 30, 2022, shows a crowd of people during Halloween parties in Seoul's Itaewon district the previous day. (Yonhap)

This photo from a reader on Oct. 30, 2022, shows a crowd of people during Halloween parties in Seoul's Itaewon district the previous day. (Yonhap)

Rescuers move patients on Oct. 30, 2022, in Seoul's Itaewon district after a stampede during Halloween parties killed 120 people. (Yonhap)

Rescuers move patients on Oct. 30, 2022, in Seoul's Itaewon district after a stampede during Halloween parties killed 120 people. (Yonhap)

Chaos in Seoul's Itaewon
Chaos in Seoul's Itaewon

Rescuers move injured people in Seoul's Itaewon district on Oct. 30, 2022, after about 50 people were reported to be in cardiac arrest from a stampede during Halloween parties. (Yonhap)

pbr@yna.co.kr
(END)

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